- This post contains affiliate links. Read more here.
Pet insurance for dogs is a lot like human health insurance. You pay a monthly premium and your vet bills are at least partly reimbursed, after you have paid a certain amount on your own (the deductible).
Pet insurance plans generally all cover some basics, including treatment for illnesses and injuries. Beyond that, the best dog medical insurance depends on your particular situation. Do you want additional coverage for wellness care like yearly exams and shots? Do you want a plan with a high or low deductible? There are a lot of choices to make, but here are some basics to help you decide.
This article is adapted from our in-depth report, The Best Pet Insurance Companies for 2021: A Pet Parent’s Guide.
How much is dog insurance?
The premium cost for dog health insurance is based on factors including the breed and age of your pet, and where you live. Most plans give you options when it comes to the amount of deductibles, annual payouts, and total lifetime payouts, and all these choices also affect the cost.
So while there’s no simple answer to the question, we can give you a rough idea of how much dog insurance costs based on our research into a sample of companies. At the low end, for one company, a basic plan starts at $15 for a dog—so you can get fairly cheap dog insurance if you look for it. More commonly, though, average premiums quoted to us by the companies were more in the range of $30-$60.
You will have to spend more if you want coverage for wellness care, as well as if you want dog dental insurance. A basic plan will not cover dental cleanings, although it will probably cover dental illness and accident, such as an infected tooth.
Is dog insurance worth it?
Having insurance for your dog means you won’t have to worry about finances when making medical decisions for your beloved pet. Many dog owners will tell you that it is worth if for the peace of mind. You’ll never have to limit your dog’s health care because you can’t afford it.
It’s certainly possible that there may end up being years when you pay more in premiums than you would have paid in vet bills, but in that case, you can consider yourself lucky—your dog didn’t have any serious problems that year. On the other hand, veterinary care for a major illness or injury can run into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, and if that happens, you’ll be thankful to have insurance.
Is pet insurance worth it for a puppy?
You may think you don’t need insurance for a young healthy puppy, but there are reasons to sign up for insurance as soon as possible. No dog insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, so if you wait to sign up for a plan until your puppy develops a problem, you will have to pay for the treatment of that condition for the rest of your dog’s life.
How much does it cost to insure a puppy? Again, this will differ depending on your particular situation and the choices you make from the available options. However, insurance is cheapest when a pet is young, and it could save you a lot of money in the long run to get the plan early and avoid that pre-existing condition exclusion. Also, some companies and plans have an upper age limit at which you can begin a plan, so you don’t want to wait till your pet starts getting old.
What’s the best dog health insurance?
While no one company is best for every individual, based on our research a good place to start is PetFirst. Along with one of our lowest quotes, their average premium was also relatively inexpensive, at $15, and they ranked highly on customer satisfaction. Another highly ranked option is AKC Pet Insurance. If you own a breed that is prone to hereditary or congenital conditions, consider Embrace.
For more about pet health insurance, see our article, The Best Pet Insurance Companies for 2021: A Pet Parent’s Guide.